Every day in our fireplace showroom, we discuss fireplace projects in which the homeowner is planning to put a TV on the wall above their electric fireplace. With the advent of larger fireplaces and flatter TVs, having a TV above the fireplace has become the norm and is on the wish lists of most of our clients. There are many advantages of electric fireplaces over gas, that make this combination possible and practical:

  • Electric fireplaces are zero-clearance. There is no combustion inside electric fireplaces, so the walls around them don’t get hot enough to affect electronics.
  • Electric fireplaces have lower heat output than gas. This means that they are not blowing excessive heat up onto the TV.
  • Electric fireplaces come in a wider range of sizes than gas. There is literally an electric fireplace to match every size of TV, up to 100 inches wide.

If you are planning to build a fireplace wall with a TV above, we have some time-tested pro tips to help you get it right. We have been working with clients on their renovation projects for over 25 years, and we have installed hundreds of fireplaces below TVs. We know what looks good as well as what’s comfortable for the people using the space. Below, we’re sharing our Top 5 design tips for your wall. Note: All of our recommendations are based on electric fireplaces; some guidelines won’t work for gas fires, due to heat issues.

Napoleon Pictura electric fireplace below properly sized TV.

How high should I mount my TV above the fireplace?

We’ve probably answered this question thousands of times over the years. We also have several videos on the subject. It’s one of the most important decisions you need to make when hanging the TV. Our advice is based on making sure that you can comfortably watch the TV from a seated position, without getting a kink in your neck. We recommend that the bottom of the TV be no more than 42-inches off the floor. Since there are a lot of different size TVs out there, and a lot of different seats and people of different heights sitting in those seats, we can give you a maximum height only. From there, you can figure out if you need to go lower to suit your own preferences. The important thing is that the TV is not a space filler between the fireplace and the ceiling; it is not meant to be centered top to bottom on the wall. If you can’t be comfortable when watching the TV, you will curse it every time you use the room.

How high should I mount my fireplace?

As noted above, the TV is 42-inches or less off the floor. In that 42-inches, you will have your electric fireplace. We recommend that a linear fireplace – the shape that most clients want below their TV – be no less than 12-inches off the floor. The closer to the floor it becomes, the harder it will be to see the flames beyond the furniture. Some folks will center the fireplace top to bottom, between the bottom of the TV and the floor. This may put the bottom of the fireplace a little more or a little less than 12-inches from the floor. As long as it’s in this range, it will look fine. If you are thinking of adding a mantel ledge to the wall above the fireplace, you will need to have more space above the fireplace than below, in order to allow space for the ledge without pushing up the TV. Note: In bedrooms, where the TV and fireplace will be viewed from the top of a high-top mattress, the TV and fireplace both need to be higher in order to be visible. A regular chair or sofa seat is 18-20 inches off the floor; find out how much higher your mattress is, and add the difference to the height of the TV and fireplace.

Watch our video on How High to Mount the TV above your Fireplace

What size fireplace should I install below my TV?

Ideally, the fireplace should be wider than the TV in order for the wall to look balanced. If you think of a pyramid, the wider part is at the bottom, and the narrowest part is at the top. If you turn the pyramid upside down, it will not look balanced and will make you feel uncomfortable. That’s the same feeling you get if your fireplace is smaller than the TV above. Remember that TVs are measured on the diagonal, while electric fireplaces are measured straight across. We’ve put together a handy graphic to show fireplace and TV sizes that work together.

What size fireplace will look good on my wall?

Because the fireplace becomes the focal point in your room, it must be in proportion to the wall and to the room in order to hold your attention. Aside from our guidelines on fireplace sizes vs. TV sizes, you also need to consider how the fireplace will look on your focal wall. From a practical construction standpoint, you will need at least a few inches on either side for framing to support the fireplace. Beyond that, you want to see enough space on either side so that the fireplace doesn’t look like it’s been forced into the wall space. We suggest a minimum of 6 – 10 inches of wall on each side; exactly how much wall you want to see may also depend on the dimensions of your wall coverings. For example, you may want to expose a full tile width on each side, or you may want to see a particular veining pattern in full. If you find that you will have more than 12-inches of wall space on either side of the fireplace, you may want to consider how to visually define the fireplace area, either by building out a false chimney breast, or by setting art or furniture on either side of the fire.

Should I recess my TV above the fireplace?

When it comes to the decision on whether to mount the TV on the wall or in a niche, opinions vary. Many clients love the look of the TV sitting neatly in a niche, with no wires or hardware showing. The limitation may be that you can’t vary the size of the TV later. However, if you have selected a TV size that looks balanced above the fireplace, you wouldn’t want to change the size anyway. One great advantage of a niche is that you can create a ledge on which to rest the speaker bar, or small electronics that attach to the TV. If you are considering a TV niche, we have a few practical tips:

  • Be sure to leave 1 – 1.5 inches of finger space around the TV, so your finger will be able to grab onto the TV for installation and repositioning after installation.
  • Mount the TV on a sturdy articulating bracket. The only way to get a TV into a niche is to install an articulating bracket in the back of the niche, then pull the bracket out to mount the TV. If you have a flat bracket on the back of the niche, you will not be able to manoeuvre the TV onto it within the confines of the niche.

If you choose to mount the TV on the wall surface, look for a flat bracket that is as slim as possible. You will also want to consider a recessed electrical outlet behind the TV, so the cord can be hidden. What you can’t safely do is to run the power cord inside the wall to an outlet below. If the power cord is going to be visible as it runs down the wall to the outlet, consider mounting the TV within 1 – 2 inches of the top of a console, so the cord is in the shadow of the TV.

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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